MONEY Odd Spending

Brilliant Guy in Massachusetts Is Selling Snow for ‘Only $89′

snowball wrapped in brown paper
Phil Ashley—Getty Images

Originally marked down from $99! The price includes overnight shipping anywhere in the U.S., and each package includes enough snow to make about a dozen snowballs.

New England—and Boston specifically—has way more snow than it knows what to do with. Boston has received roughly 100 inches of snow this winter. And it’s not even March yet. And guess what the forecast calls for on Tuesday? Yep, a few more inches of snow.

Boston has had so much snow that in early February the city started considering special approval by the EPA to dump it in the ocean because snow removal teams have been running out of places to put it.

It’s amid this scene that a Massachusetts man got the idea that he could do his part to get rid of some of the snow—and make some profits while he’s at it. The service, ShipSnowYo.com, started as something of a joke, but by mid-February it had reportedly sold around 100 16.9-oz. plastic bottles filled with snow, which were frozen in dry ice and shipped around the country, at a cost of $19.99.

By the time the bottles arrived at their destinations, they were most filled with pure New England water, not snow. But Waring insists that the recipients didn’t mind much. “They understand that we want to clean up Boston, so even if it does arrive as water, they get a kick out of it,” Waring explained to Boston Magazine.

Nonetheless, ShipSnowYo has since begun offering a new product that’s “Guaranteed Snow on Arrival!” This package includes 6 lbs. of snow collected courtesy of Winter Storm Neptune, which dumped 20+ inches in parts of Massachusetts. The “Limited Supply” snow comes in a thick Styrofoam container and is shipped overnight, at a cost of “$99 Now Only $89!”

Waring told Boston.com that the $89 package yields enough snow to make 10 to 15 snowballs. “It seems to be corporations paying for the $90 product as a funny gesture, where the $20 one is regular consumers,” he said of his customers.

What’s next for Waring? Look for a bigger, 10-lb. snow package to hit the market at a price of $119. Presumably, such a product would be more appropriate for larger snowball fights in Florida, Arizona, or wherever else they’re shipped. And the entrepreneur says that he might try a slightly different moneymaking idea next autumn. “Maybe I’ll ship some fall foliage,” he said.

TIME Wildlife

Hunter Kills First Wolf in Grand Canyon in 70 Years

The wolf was named Echo by school children

The first gray wolf seen near the Grand Canyon in 70 years was killed by a hunter in Utah in December, wildlife officials confirmed on Wednesday.

Echo the wolf — so-named last month in a nationwide student contest — is believed to have traveled at least 750 miles in search of a mate, including through the Grand Canyon region in northern Arizona where the last of its kind were killed off in the 1940s, the Denver Post reports.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said DNA tests confirmed the dead wolf’s identity after it was killed in Utah by a hunter who says he mistook it for a coyote. Gray wolves are considered endangered in southern Utah, and a spokesman for the Fish and Wildlife Service said the investigation into Echo’s death is ongoing, according to the Post.

[Denver Post]

TIME nature

Grand Canyon Development Plan Sparks Dispute

grand canyon
Don Smith—Getty Images

Plans for the canyon's rim include a multimedia complex with an IMAX facility, retail shops, hotels, an RV park and a gondola tram

As morning light painted the far-reaching buttes of the Grand Canyon gold, Renae Yellowhorse stood at the edge of the canyon’s rim, looked out toward where the rivers met below her, and smiled.

“It is my church, it is where I say my prayers. It is where I give my offerings. It’s where I commune with the holy ones, the gods that walk along the canyon,” said Yellowhorse, a member of the Navajo Nation.

This place, called “the confluence,” is where the Colorado River meets the Little Colorado River on the canyon’s east side. According to the Navajo creation story, the confluence is where their people first emerged.

And now this Navajo-owned land is at the center of an ugly land-use dispute…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME archeology

Here’s What a 55,000-Year-Old Skull Teaches Us About Human Migration

Ancient Skull
Clara Amit—AP This undated photo provided by the Israel Antiquities Authority on Jan. 27, 2015, shows a partial human skull excavated from a cave in Israel's western Galilee region

The rare bone find is the first to connect humans in Africa and Europe

Part of a female human skull, found in a cave in Israel and believed to be around 55,000 years old, is giving researchers clues as to when humans migrated out of Africa, leading to the eventual colonization of Europe.

The partial skull, found in Manot Cave in western Galilea, is the first recorded instance of modern humans being in the Levant region during that time period, archeologists claim in the journal Nature. These early people may have been the first to pass through the region on their way to cooler latitudes.

“It’s amazing. This is the first specimen we have that connects Africa to Europe,” said Israel Hershkovitz of Tel Aviv University.

Neanderthal remains have previously been found in locations close to Manot Cave, dating between 50,000 and 65,000 years of age, so that places the two species in the same place at the same time.

Non-African humans have a tiny bit of Neanderthal DNA and studies suggest the mix happened 50,000 to 60,000 years ago.

Scientists say the new discovery offers the possibility that a spell of interbreeding between Neanderthals and early humans occurred at this time and in this region.

[Nature]

TIME discoveries

Bizarre Creatures Found Living Under Half a Mile of Ice

85401982
Getty Images The Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica

A National Science Foundation-funded expedition to the Antarctic has unearthed a surprising result: There are fish who live without sunlight under almost half a mile of ice in 28-degree water.

Scientists had never before sampled the Whillans Ice Stream, a river of ice between the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and the Ross Ice Shelf. The drilling mission, which began on Jan. 8, aimed to better understand climate change by recovering sediment and seawater samples for examination. A small, remotely operated vehicle would peruse the ocean floor and photograph rocks and whatever microbial life might be there. They expected little, because of the water’s extreme distance from sunlight (a major nutrient for underwater environments) and its clarity, which suggests an absence of food sources.

But the vehicle wound up attracting 20 to 30 fish, with other crustaceans as well. Researchers don’t yet know how the ecosystem functions, but they’re hopeful that the fish’s survival under such harsh conditions holds broader clues.

[Scientific American]

TIME Travel

Tourists’ Trash Caused the Oddly-Colored Geysers at Yellowstone, Study Finds

Morning glory
Yellowstone National Park Lodges Morning Glory Pool at Yellowstone National Park

Tourist damage is not new for the beloved national park

For anyone who’s visited visited Yellowstone, our nation’s first national park, and marveled at the the vibrant hues of its hot springs—indigos, vermillions, and chartreuses—there’s evidence to suggest that the park’s technicolor spectacle is actually the result of tourist trash—tossed pennies, trash, and random objects.

A recent study conducted by the University in Montana and Germany’s Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences has determined that the thermal springs used to be a deep blue, but vandalism, especially to the Morning Glory Pool, has resulted in a rainbow of colors. And there’s no telling yet the true toll this abuse.

Tourist damage is not new: After WWII in 1947, a park geologist removed 55 wheelbarrows of debris from Yellowstone’s geysers and springs.

With the study’s findings as hard evidence, the national park system can begin an education campaign for visitors to help preserve some of our most precious—and fragile—national treasures. So next time you’re at Yellowstone (or any other park) and want to make a wish by tossing a coin into its gorgeous geysers, save it and donate to the U.S. National Parks Service instead.

This article originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.

More from Travel + Leisure:

TIME nature

Rock Stars: See Historic Climbing Moments on Yosemite’s El Capitan

The impossible has just been achieved

On Jan. 14, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson, two American climbers, scaled the fabled Dawn Wall in Yosemite National Park using just hands and feet. The façade, located on the southeast side of the massive El Capitan rock formation, was widely considered an impossible climb without the help of ropes. Caldwell and Jorgeson’s story builds upon decades of record-breaking (and bone-breaking) climbs on El Capitan in the Yosemite Valley. Above are some of the trailblazers who paved the way for their success.

Two of those featured are Warren Harding and Dean Caldwell (no relation to Tommy), who over nearly 27 days in 1970 became the first to scale the Dawn Wall, though using ropes and rivets. In the video below, co-directors Nick Rosen and Peter Mortimer share with TIME an exclusive clip from the award-winning documentary Valley Uprising, which shows Harding and Caldwell’s infamous 1970 ascent. The film, which will be available on Vimeo starting Jan. 15, documents the epic stories of the men and women who have made history conquering El Capitan over the past 50 years.

Read next: This week’s TIME magazine article, Man vs. Yosemite

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME animals

Marine Biologists Capture Rare Photo of a Shark Birth

Scientists noticed a visibly "agitated" shark off of the Philippines coastline

Marine biologists say they’ve never seen anything like it: Possibly the first known snapshot of an elusive species of shark giving birth in the open ocean.

The image, which was published in the December issue of the journal Coral Reefs, was captured off of the Philippines coastline in 2013. Scientists there, during a routine reef survey, noticed a “visibly” agitated thresher shark swimming nearby, trailed by several cleaner fish pecking at its pelvic region. One marine photographer snapped a photo, which later revealed the cause of the shark’s agitation: The head of a newborn pup jutting out head-first from the shark’s body.

“I freaked out,” study author Simon Arthur told BBC News, adding that it was the first image of a shark birth he had encountered in his career.

TIME Infectious Disease

New Antibiotic Could Help Fight ‘Superbugs’ of the Future

Teixobactin successfully treated mice with MRSA

Scientists have discovered a new antibiotic that may help turn the tide against the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, or “superbugs”.

By using a method that grows bacteria in its native dirt rather than a lab dish, researchers from Northeastern University in Boston were able to identify a new, promising antibiotic called teixobactin, Nature reports.

When the researchers tested teixobactin in mice infected with the bacteria Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)—which causes infections in humans—they reacted favorably and cleared the infection. What’s especially exciting about teixobactin is that the bacteria tested so far has not displayed resistance.

Antibiotic resistance is becoming an increasingly problematic public health burden with antibiotic-resistant bacteria causing at least 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths in the United States each year. A December report warned that superbugs, or bacteria resistant to antibiotics, could kill as many as 10 million people a year by 2050.

MORE: Health Workers See Promise in Software to Tackle Drug-Resistant Bacteria

The study’s authors speculate that teixobactin isn’t as resistant as other antiobiotics because it uses a different mode to attack bacteria, that appears to make resistance less likely.

The scientists came across over 20 drug candidates, but teixobactin looks to be the most promising. While it’s not impossible for teixobactin to cause resistance, the researchers conclude that it seems less susceptible. For now it requires further testing to assess its potential for clinical use.

TIME nature

Minnesota Man Fights Off 525-Pound Bear With a 5-Inch Knife

Asian black bear standing in the forest (Ursus thibetanus)
I.JESKE—De Agostini/Getty Images Asian black bear standing in the forest (Ursus thibetanus)

"It's just going to town on my hand and I just keep stabbing"

A Minnesotan hunter claims to have survived a bear attack by fending off the 525-pound animal with a 5-inch knife.

Brandon Johnson told USA Today that he was tracking a black bear that his friend had shot in a densely forested hunting ground earlier in the day. It was nightfall by the time the bear had caught Johnson off guard. The bear charged, knocking him unconscious. But Johnson awoke moments later and fought back with his hunting knife, he said.

“It’s just going to town on my hand and I just keep stabbing it and stabbing it and stabbing away and I am screaming and yelling,” Johnson told USA Today.

The bear left and charged him on three separate occasions, until Johnson says he stabbed the knife into its open mouth.

He survived with extensive injuries and a slew of medical bills. His friends have set up a fundraising website with the goal of raising $10,000 to help defray the costs.

Read more at USA Today.

 

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